D.V. Sheppard

The web-log of a duck-herding author.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'm Innocent! I Swear! (IWSG)

On behalf of the "Insecure Writers Support Group" Web-logging-Wednesday - I thought I'd share a writing dilemma that I hope I am not the only person to have had. If I am, well... that would be embarrassing. So, even if you haven't, consider saying you did to prove your angelic nature.

Have you ever enjoyed a season of being wrapped up in your writing? You've been working, and brainstorming and getting excited about the fruits of your labor. Then, you pause briefly to step back and breathe in the finished work, only to choke slightly because you realize that something brilliant you've added to your book resembles an element of someone else's book. Egads! What do you do now? I mean, it's not like the story is a carbon copy. In fact, the point of what you've written is to get across a very different story! There are plenty of differences! It wasn't on purpose! In fact, if you think about it- you came up with it before you ever read that other book!

Aside from this being somewhat discomfiting, the real trouble comes as you begin to wonder, "what do I do now?" Does it need to be changed? Do you twist it into something different? If you don't will you be passed over by agents? Or worse! - what if it isn't passed over by agents, but the scathing reviews fill Amazon and Goodreads (etc.,) about how the book is just a poor rendition of "Awesome Book That Now Holds the Rights to All Things Cool Therefore Negating Anything Cool and Original in Your Book". Admit it, you've all seen those reviews - maybe you've even written one yourself (no, judging, I promise).

While the solution is rarely simple, it eventually has to be made, and the writing moves on. But, now the question of truth - anyone else faced that sinking feeling of worry upon such a discovery? If so, did you end up keeping the "familiar element", alter it into unique-ness, or nix it right off?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

That Being Said...

I don't know if it has thus far been mentioned, but the truth of the matter is this: I'm really excited about this new book I'm writing. I admitted to a friend today that I was worried I had committed some self-sabotage by setting aside what is now a sequel book in order to pursue the writing of the, then prequel, now kickstarter novel. I thought, "What if this is me making sure that I never succeed in finishing a book?" Working in a off-shoot of the "health-care field" I'm afraid I know just enough about the body, the psyche, and so forth to be truly worried about this. However, I've since set this aside. This is the book that needs to go out to agents first. - Ack! I just noticed that my fridge door was left open! How long have I been wasting money with the expulsion of cold air from my Frigidaire!? Gracious! - Anyway, despite the delight I'm experiencing in the creating of my book, progress is slow. Not dead slow, but possibly frozen-zombie-walking slow. However, I've proven to myself that I can break through the writing blocks, and reach (or nearly-reach to be honest) the end goal. Yes, that sentence doesn't sound all that impressive, but the truth is, that near-success achieved the goal that I hadn't realized I was needing. Now that I know that I can finish this book, and likely (most definitely: hopefully) within the year, it's only a matter of doing the writing itself. Silly sounding yes, but once you reign in the psyche you can accomplish new and inspiring things.

That being said... I have made a reassessment of my writing goals and have settled them down to 4 hours of writing a week. It's silly, but I am going to clarify - 4 hours of WRITING - not four hours of sitting at my computer, or even researching. I mean, 4 hours of typing the thought creating my book onto paper. I feel this is achievable under my normal writing circumstances - as I usually write during the weekend, and can expect myself to sit down for two productive hours on Saturday and Sunday. I also feel that it's exceed-able! Which just makes me feel good. This should mean I'll finish the rough draft of my book by the end of the first week of July, if it ends up being as long as I anticipate.

As one last note - in search of some writing company, I've decided to look into the Insecure Writers Support Group. I don't know that I'd say I feel insecure. But lonely for sure. Writing is by nature a "lonely" business. I like to see what other writers are up to though, and wouldn't mind if they likewise looked to see what I was up to. This in turn, has required me to switch my blog to Blogger. *Shrug* Whatever.


Out Like a Light.... Hit with a Hammer

The light at the end of the tunnel has been demolished. I have a lantern, so in truth things are not so terribly bleak, but honestly - I was really excited to be free of the cave. Of what do I speak? My book, of course. As you may or may not recall, I have been plodding along with my book, making small leaps of progress that have quite frankly brought me immense satisfaction over the past few months now. Further more, I've recently become increasingly excited about that "light at the end of the tunnel" thing that was supposed to come to fruition about April. Well, a week or two ago, I was doing some research and this horrible realization came upon me. It was, that while I consider my books together to be prime material for publishing, the particular book that I've currently been working on... well... it's not a good book to pitch to agents. It was something of a ground-shattering discovery for me, and if I remember accurately, I cried for awhile. Though, perhaps that isn't a good qualifier. After all, I cried watching Panda 2, though not as hard. My point is, while I didn't necessarily have to face "scrapping" my book, it would need quite a bit more revision that I anticipated... and well... I'll to set aside this current mature project, and set my focuses on the books "prequel". That is in quotations, because it is no longer the prequel. It's now book one.
(Continuing a week or two later) I've dubbed this new "book one" = Unbanded. Just so it won't be referred to as "book one". I'm started it. Right now (as I take a break from fantasy to write about reality) Unbanded sits at 9800+ words. This is only depressing when I think about the fact that Banded is over 110,000 words. Ach, why did I just do that to myself. I suppose I've been on a bit of a stats splurge lately. You see I discovered that, on average, I can write somewhere around 1500 words an hour. I suppose, however, that is somewhat deceiving. After all, I don't often sit for an hour straight typing. I usually get diverted to change music, and look at facebook, and in truth, my words per hour would look absolutely hideous if I counted the amount of time I sat at my computer with the intention of writing. No, I'm talking about actually the actually typing timed. My writing program does that for me. As long as the window is open and being worked on, or stared at, it counts the time. So for every hour that I actually have my book open before me, I get about 1500 words written. I'm also discovered that when I'm writing more or less nonestop-,I usually only last about two hours, getting 3000 words written - sometimes more. After this, I'm somewhat burned out. I'm not proud of this. Some part of me screams that I should be WAY more hard core than this. After all, haven't I previously declared myself possible of achieving hard-core non-wussy-panted awesomeness!?

Well in light of these recent thoughts, and with four days off in my future, I decided to push myself to the limit. My goal was that on the four days off (spanning two weeks time) I would double my normal word count for a hard core writing session. So each of my days off I would write for six hours getting me to 9000 words each day, and 36000 words by the last of my days off. Well.. I'm at the end of that first week, ahem, and like I said, I'm just under 10000. Needless to say, I haven't proven so great at doubling my word count. In fact, it was hard to get any writing done at all. I know when to revise a goal, so my intention is to do a good normal sitting on this upcoming Tuesday (day 3 off), and at least SOME writing on Thursday (day 4 off). In my defense, Thursdays are saturated with dance stuff. I was busy! - and I'm sure I'll be busy this upcoming Thursday.

I'm not entirely done with my stats though! You see I made a rough estimate that Unbanded should be around 500 pages long. I think, I can tell the story I need to, without getting too long-winded within that amount of pages. Now, in mass market paper back, which has about 250 words per page, this leaves me needing to write approximately 125,000 words to finish this book. Meaning it will take me about 84 hours to finish. That's four straight days of writing, or 42 of my "normal writing sittings". Well I don't particularly like that number, because that means if I continue to write on the weekends like I do, it could take me somewhere around 5.25 months to finish. lame. So lame that I didn't capitalize the 'l' in that one word sentence.

Obviously I need to make some new goals, but the truth is, I'm nervous about doing so. I'd like to take no more than 3 months. This means that I'd have to write - actually write - about 7 hours a week . I know this sounds weak-sauce. I could totally spend 7 hours a week writing. In fact, I should change my tone right now. I'll give myself 3 months - starting March. That gives me the rest of February to continue to create a nice pillow for myself, in case I run into some hard writing times. So June, I should be sending THIS book - Unbanded - out to proofreaders. Oh that would be so fun! Actually - that lines up with the goals I had for Banded. The difference is, Banded was already mostly written at this point. In fact it's over 400 pages long right now...

Okay, okay, I'll stop lamenting. Got to go make some new goal sheets!
(Written February 12th 2012)